At prices ranging from less than $50 to several hundred, even thousands of dollars, a nonstick cookware set is produced by such brands as Scanpan, Farberware, Viking and Calphalon, just to name some. Made from a variety of materials including stainless steel, hard-anodized aluminum, copper, cast iron and enamel-coated metal, nonstick cookware provides for quick and easy food release and eliminates drawn-out cleanups. No one wants to prepare a meal only to have it stick to the bottom of the pan upon completion. Nonstick cookware is practically an industry standard, but there are different grades in terms of quality.
Depending on the material used to craft the cookware, the design process will differ. High-end copper cookware is routinely hand hammered for an exquisitely smooth surface, while hard-anodized aluminum goes through an electrochemical process to strengthen and protect it from oxidation. Stainless steel cookware usually is made with a layer of heat-conductive aluminum between the polished exterior and silky interior layers. Enamel-coated cookware features a porcelain-enamel exterior, giving it a unique look, while cast iron implements have a fine oil coating to both protect and season them.
Key to any nonstick cookware is its ability to quickly release food upon completion. Cleaning, too, should be fast and easy. Most high-quality cookware should be washed by hand to preserve its integrity over time. A simple combination of warm water, soap and a gentle sponge always does the trick. Cast iron cookware may be wiped clean and re-coated with a sprinkling of vegetable oil to retain its sheen. In addition, nonstick cookware is made to heat evenly, creating no hotspots.
Sets may feature as few as 2 components or as many as 30. From 2-skillet sets to comprehensive, multi-piece packages, nonstick cookware is available in numerous combinations. Sets usually contain one or more saucepans, a saute pan, a stockpot and skillets. Lids are included. Fuller sets may feature a chef's pan, pasta or fryer insert and utensils.